Award winning comedian,, actor, musician and philanthropist, Will Smith is the cover star for the March issue of Esquire Magazine.
In this issue, Smith dishes on his kids, career, Ferguson and Failure.
Read excerpts from the interview below:
About his son Jaden’s humility he said;
He has three pair of pants and he has five shirts. He has refused to be a slave to money. I so respect that. The younger generation is less of an ownership generation, anyway. And it’s such an interesting thing to watch, because I came from a middle-class background, but, you know, our lights and gas would be cut off from not paying the bill. I grew up in a house where you would need the kerosene heaters in the winter in case the bills didn’t get paid. And he’s from the complete other end of the spectrum. And it’s so interesting to me that from growing up in that space, he could see the need for things in a way that he’s rejecting. He’s like, “I’m not gonna let myself need things in that way”—but I would like him to get another pair of shoes.
On his physique he said;
I like to look good, but I like my body to function well more than anything. For me, it’s as spiritual and intellectual as it is physical. And emotional. I’m a better husband, I’m a better father, if my body is physically functioning at the highest possible levels. I enjoy pushing myself. There is nothing like having to change your physical form to put you in contact with every weak part of yourself, to train yourself in discipline. You get confronted with all of the things you’ll be confronted with in your marriage, confronted with in your parenting, confronted with in your job.
About social media bullying he said;
With this generation of kids growing up, the technological battering is almost the norm. They generally avoid the stuff. They’re really well-adjusted around this business and understanding the nature of having to take a battering. It’s a brutal world out there for young people, for everybody. Willow had one moment. The Young Turks are Willow’s idol. They have a TV show online. They’re like a really powerful group of young writers, hosts, and political commentators. Willow loves the Young Turks, and that was the only moment I saw her cry. Other than that, she’s really well-adjusted with it. And Jaden understands that that’s a part of this business. If he wants to do it, there’s a certain amount of battery that you have to be willing to live through. We have a quote that I put up in the house from Pema Chödrön: “Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us.” We call it leaning into the sharp parts. Something hurts, lean in. You just lean into that point until it loses its power over you. There’s a certain amount of suffering that you have to be willing to sustain if you want to have a good life. And the trick is to be able to sustain it with your heart open and still be loving. That is the real trick.
On the trouble in Ferguson ;
I understand the difficulty and the pain, and there’s no easy way out right now. The change that has to happen is about to be so brutal and so painful. It’s not unlike the sixties. I think there’s actually a deeper issue at play that America is going to have to face. What we’re really talking about in this issue is people walking around the street with guns that can make a decision whether or not they’re going to kill someone, right? And that’s even more difficult, because there’s really no way back from that. This is a gun culture. And it’s painful for me, because I cannot figure out how to be helpful. I’ve always been telling my sons, We have to separate fault from responsibility—whose fault it is that black men are in this situation, whose fault it is doesn’t matter. It’s our responsibility to make it go right. It’s our responsibility. It’s a lot of people’s fault, systemic racism, and it’s a lot of people’s fault that the black community is in the situation that we’re in, but it’s our responsibility to clean up the mess.
On service to the community he said;
The quality of your life was determined by the quality of your service. I’m attracted to characters who have a higher calling, who want to serve in ways where you get beyond the comfortable service and you get into the space of the sacrificial. And I really am attracted to characters who just want to do things that brighten the world. That probably is the central aspect of my personality. If you started chipping things away, if there were one thing that was really at the core, it is trying to be like my grandmother. Her entire life was in service at Resurrection Baptist Church. And she was just always happy.